January 17, 2024 — In reply comments filed today at the FCC on the notice of proposed rulemaking in the matter of Safeguarding and Securing the Open Internet, ACA Connects urged the Commission to abandon its proposals to reclassify broadband as a highly regulated “Title II” service and impose burdensome new rules that will hamper broadband investment and innovation by its Members – smaller providers. These comments follow ACA Connects’ filing in December 2023 that urged the FCC to maintain the balanced regulatory environment that has enabled broadband to flourish.
“The FCC’s effort to impose a common carrier regime on broadband service providers will undermine the progress America has made to increase speeds, lower prices, and close the digital divide,” said ACA Connects President and CEO Grant Spellmeyer. “For smaller broadband providers, it will add substantial burdens and compliance costs that will make it harder to invest and compete in their communities and in new markets. ACA Connects is again urging the FCC to stay the course with balanced regulation and abandon its proposals. Rather than interfere with a market that is working, the FCC should be focused on getting all stakeholders to join together to improve broadband access and adoption for all Americans.”
ACA Connects’ comments emphasize that fixed broadband ecosystem has flourished – and continues to flourish – under the Title I regulatory framework that has prevailed for virtually all of the previous three decades. This framework has fostered entry, infrastructure investment, subscriber responsiveness, and service innovation. Preserving Title I – and avoiding the regulatory friction induced by Title II – is especially urgent for the small and mid-sized providers ACA Connects represents.
ACA Connects specifically highlights concerns shared by the CEO of Vexus Fiber Jim Gleason. Gleason said the Commission’s proposals, “threaten to increase our regulatory burdens (and, thus, overhead costs)…Vexus Fiber is particularly concerned about any form of rate regulation or oversight, including through subscriber complaints. We are equally concerned about the prospective imposition of the proposed General Conduct Standard, the limits of that proposed rule are not clearly defined, and its adoption can be expected to chill legitimate competitive activity and innovation.”
About ACA Connects: America’s Communications Association – ACA Connects is a trade organization representing more than 500 smaller and medium-sized, independent companies that provide broadband, video, and phone services covering 23 million customers, 6 million of which are located in rural and smaller suburban markets across America. ACA Connects Members operate in every state, providing advanced communications to connect homes, companies, main street, schools, hospitals and more. America’s economic prosperity in smaller communities and rural areas depends on the growth and success of ACA Connects Members, who believe a connected nation is a prosperous nation.